A March for Science, Road Closures and the ACLU

On Saturday the city will shut down several public streets for an event called the “March for Science.” It’s the local version of a nationwide protest of federal budget cuts to scientific research. While the event organizers claim that it is non-partisan, critics say its the nerdy version of yet another anti-Trump protest.

Mad scientists

Naturally the city bureaucrats were eager to accommodate to the public’s expression via a gathering on the city hall lawn and a march through downtown streets, right? Of course not. The City of Fullerton declined the assembly. Organizers were told to come up with $12,000 for city fees, a $2 million insurance policy and provide 90 days notice before starting the march.

What were these fees supposed to pay for? $8,000 went towards some sort of a traffic control plan and $4,000 was earmarked for police fees. Specifics costs were unavailable, but we can read between the lines: it’s $12,000 to put up plastic barricades and have some cops stand around, collecting overtime.

The ACLU got involved and lit up the city for charging excess fees they claim were intended to “discourage community members from exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Predictably, the ACLU communique prompted a change of heart at city hall. City management found a way to drastically reduce fees to a mere $175. The march will proceed as planned, without most of the ridiculously expensive bureaucratic requirements.

The moral of this story, of course, is that city hall’s default reaction to 1st amendment activity is to put up artificial financial/administrative barricades and prevent the unwashed masses from organizing and criticizing government. Around here, if you can’t bring in a lawyer to assert your rights, you’re nobody. That sounds familiar.

On the other hand, I am reminded of a peaceful Fullerton march that occurred in 2011 without lawyers, city approval, plastic barricades, insurance policies, traffic control, fat cops on overtime or any sort of certificate of authenticity. How did that happen?

 

College Town – Still Not Ready for Prime Time

 

An appropriate mascot

It’s back! Thanks to our tireless activist Joshua Ferguson, who snapped this picture up during a recent visit to City Hall this morning:


College Town originally came up before the Planning Commission on February 10, 2016.  Opposition was so strong to the plan the opposition’s “Our Town Not College Town” signs started springing up faster than mushrooms and the Planning Commission meeting was packed with angry residents opposed to the proposal (full disclosure: I played a significant part in organizing the opposition to that plan). In the end, five members of the Planning Commission agreed that adding 10,000 residents while diverting even more traffic to Chapman by closing a portion of Nutwood was a ridiculously ill conceived the idea and the proposal was tabled.

So what is the new and presumably improved plan for College Town? Your guess is as good as mine, but the early picture isn’t encouraging.

See that website on the picture? The one that says www.collegetownfullerton.com? Go ahead and click the link. Here’s a screen capture of what you found when you checked as of todays’ date:

All of your Nutwoods are belonging to us

According to Google’s English/ Japanese translator the phrase above translates to “Chat lady’s job contents and rewards.” Your guess is as good as mine what that actually means, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean “so tell us what you think about College Town.”

So how did this happen? Apparently, the City registered collegetownfullerton.com back in 2011, but they apparently allowed the domain name to lapse, allowing Chat lady here to swoop in an take over the domain around September 15, 2016.

Everybody supports College Town! Pay raises for everyone!!

A little personal anecdote: back in the 2012-2013 timeframe, the City complied with the notice requirement by sending out notice for around a dozen meetings with a smaller number of invitees (just 2 or so blocks at a time would be notified of each meeting) rather than inviting everyone in the affected area to one single meeting. The “informational” meetings would then be set up in the Chapman Park clubhouse, and they would set up for a full house, even though only a few people would actually show up, which the City used to create the impression that opposition to the concept was non-existent.

As infuriating as that strategy was, I had to at least admire its ingenuity. Personally I would have preferred that the City and Cal State Fullerton actually listened to residents before trying to shove their little sandwich down our throats a second time, but it is at least comforting to see that the Ernst Blofeld-level strategist behind the original campaign has been replaced by Dr. Evil. Off to a heck of a start.

CSUF Republicans allege professor-on-student assault at Trump protest

Members of the Cal State Fullerton GOP club say that an anthropology professor physically attacked students yesterday during an on-campus clash with anti-Trump protestors. The Register and Breitbart have the stories.

It’s too early to tell if any of this is true. But that doesn’t mean we can’t tell you what will happen next.

CSUF administration will announce that they’ve called in an “independent investigator” who is really just an on-call attorney, hired to minimize the school’s liability and facilitate the quiet payoffs of any lawsuits.

The employee will be placed on paid administrative leave until the media and the students become tired of silence and move on to something else. Some sort of internal investigation may occur, but the findings will be hidden from the public and any students who were harmed.

The CSUF police force, part of the same beaurocratic structure that is responsible for this madness, will ultimately find no reason to press criminal charges upon their coworker.

During this excercise, pretense of concern for student safety will be audibly reiterated, but realistically disgarded. The administrators will focus all of their energy balancing the nearly unlimited employment rights of potentially abusive faculty with their need to protect the reputation of the institution that allowed this assault to occur.

Nevertheless, we persevere. Stick around, friends. We’ll keep a close eye on this one.

Fullerton in the News: Pervs and Violence

There’s been flurry of news stories about Fullerton in the last 48 hours. Here’s a quick list:

Troy Students arrested for alleged school shooting plot.

Two Fullerton high school students were arrested for allegedly plotting a school shooting that they were overheard describing as “bigger than Columbine,” police said.

ABC 7 Story

2 Female Students Sexually Assaulted Within Minutes of Each Other at Fullerton College; Man Sought

Two female students were assaulted within seven minutes of each other at Fullerton College on Tuesday night, and police were asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect.

KTLA Story

CSUF Perv alert

On February 1, 2017, the CSU Fullerton Police Department (UPD) received two reports of a male who was “touching himself” on the outside of his clothing at 10:41 am and at 11:48 am in a CSUF Parking Lot.

CSUF Memo

The Sherbeck Stadium Swindle

Fullerton College is going to ruin the nearby neighborhoods when they build the boondoggle that will be Sherbeck Stadium and they are going to use the fact that you residents didn’t yell at them as the very reason for building an unnecessary Stadium when there is already a High School stadium literally within walking distance of the College in a town with another already under-utilized stadium at C.S.U.F..

If you don’t want Fullerton College to go ahead with their plans you need to write a letter to them to tell them why you’re against it. You have until tomorrow, 03 December 2016, to get your letter postmarked & in the mail or they will ignore you and you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself for sitting out on this issue.

I don’t even live in the neighborhood and I’m writing a letter on behalf of a friend of mine who does live in that neighborhood. Because I’m a friend and it affects both his and Fullerton’s future. That’s why I’m here in the first place.

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The Sound of Silence

I would have done it even cheaper...
I would have done it even cheaper…

Not much has come out of Fullerton Junior College lately on the case of cop-turned-security guard Dino Skokos who handed out an unwarranted beat down on an undernourished FJC student in October.

A writer for The Hornet named Madalyn Amato,  reports that although an “independent investigator” has been engaged, nothing else has been forthcoming. The fact that the investigator, a law firm called Currier & Hudson, solely specializes in acting as defense counsel for government agencies, should send out appropriate warning bells. See where this is going?

In the aftermath of outrage, the bureaucratic playbook is being executed as expected.

First, ignore any criminality on the part of the district employee and announce an independent investigation, with the goal of diverting responsibility, or even better, procrastinating ’til everybody’s forgotten about the incident.

Naturally, the independent investigator is really just a carefully selected government defense pettifogger, hired to relieve the agency of as much liability as possible and absorb any leftover PR issues. Of course, hiring a law firm comes with desirable effects, such as the benefit of attorney client privilege. See, it’s easier to control an investigation if the investigator can’t actually reveal any findings detrimental to the institution.

The cleanup is underway
The cleanup is underway

And now we wait. The employee takes a paid vacation, the real police fail to deliver a criminal investigation, and NOCCCD eventually pays out a quiet settlement to the victim who will make a deal in a civil courtroom. Nothing to see here.

Close enough...
Close enough…

And now let’s let Fullerton Junior College President Greg Schulz take us home via The Hornet article:

President Greg Schulz promised the college’s full dedication in reaching a conclusion regarding the incident.

Do Not Trust the Trustees

On Thursday, November 17, the North Orange County Community College District held an the Environmental Impact Report scoping session for the Measure J funded improvements to Fullerton College.

As  you know from our previous report on this matter, the proposed improvements include a football field (estimated during the presentation to cost $4 million to build, so consider that a low floor to the likely final cost) but does not include improvements to the Veteran’s Center. When this discrepancy was addressed, Fullerton College President Greg Schultz gave the following explanation:

  1. We have to understand that the NOCCCD cannot do everything it would like to do with Measure J funds, so they have not been able to make the improvements to the Veteran’s Center at this time;
  2. The stadium will be funded through other funds, not Measure J money and he promises to not use Measure J money to build the stadium.

Let’s take these two responses one at a time, shall we?

First, the characterizing of the veteran’s center as just one of many improvements that the NOCCCD would like to perform is extremely dishonest. Let’s re-wind the clock again to back when NOCCCD sought voter approval for their $574 million construction bond:

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Don’t Kneel to Fullerton College’s Football Stadium Demands

So who’s up for a proposed construction project that could “substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings” and could “create a new source of substantial light or glare would adversely affect day or nighttime views in the area” according to the Environmental Impact Report?

Doesn’t sound appealing? Well, you may want to attend the scoping session on Thursday, November 17, 2016, at 6 pm, at the Fullerton College Student Center, Rooms 224, 226 and 228 (don’t ask – I’ll be wandering around campus myself) and let them know.

I should note that this little boondoggle is not the City’s doing, for once. For this we can thank the North Orange County Community College District and their Board of Trustees. The Master Plan Initial Study, which discussed the Environmental Impacts on Section 6.3, can be found here: )

fc-map

Pictured: Sherbeck Field. Not pictured: Rooms 224-228. Also not pictured: The football stadium that already exists across the street.

Some time ago, the NOCCCD Board of Trustees were considering the idea of building a football stadium on campus, thus sparing their football team the humiliation of playing football at <gasp> a high school stadium – and one that’s less than 100 yards away from the campus proper, to boot. Residents of the Princeton Circle neighborhood objected, and the plans for a football stadium appeared, to the residents at least, to be scrapped. Now the trustees are looking to add 4,500 stadium seats and field lighting that could remain on until 10 pm. In addition, while I have not independently verified this, nearby residents contend that the proposed lighting would consist of six 100 foot tall LED towers, which if true would cause a significant amount of light pollution.

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Molly’s Problem

 

Nothing intelligent was forthcoming...
Nothing intelligent was forthcoming…

Could be trouble’s a-brewin’ for our old acquaintance, North OC Community College District trustee Molly McClanahan.

Now, in case you’re not familiar with the life and times of McClanahan, here’s a primer: rightfully recalled from the Fullerton City Council in 1994 for imposing a stupid and unnecessary utility tax (at the behest of the public employee unions), she was tossed a little political plum as an appointee to the NOCCCD. There she has been a reliable cheerleader for a bloated, overpaid and incompetent administration for over 20 years.

A few years back we followed the tale of the magical football stadium at FJC, an embarrassment on so many levels that I won’t recount them, just give you Loyal Friends the link.

Seven years have passed and apparently the football practice facility is still slated to become a completely unnecessary game day venue – given the fact of the FHS stadium a few hundred yards away and the CSUF stadium less than two miles away. looks like some of the neighbors are still as unhappy about this as ever. In fact, somebody has started a website dedicated to pressuring McClanahan to act on behalf of her constituents instead of her district bureaucrats, with the promise of a recall. Since they linked to the old post of ours, I felt compelled to return the favor.

Now Molly may have a problem, maybe. Recalling anybody is hard, especially in a big JC district that nobody even thinks much about. Yet the NOCCCD has seven much smaller individual districts. I don’t know for sure, but I’m supposing the individual trustee districts have about 70,000 people, so gathering signatures would not be impossible. But would anybody off the hill behind the campus even care?

Unfortunately, the website isn’t real clear on what how McClanahan is supposed to do anything at this point. Maybe the proprietor of that blog will stop by and give us some more information. One thing is certain, though. Whoever is behind this is pretty pissed off. The hostility comes through loud and clear; and tellingly, there is a pointed reference to McClanahan’s illegal gift-taking from a bond peddler and the consequent FPPC fine.

CSUF Giving Up on “University Heights” Fiasco?

Those birds won’t be coming home to roost. Not if CSUF can help it.

A few years ago Cal State Fullerton decided to get into the housing business for its employees. Why public employees should get any sort of preferential treatment for housing is beyond me, but that’s the society in which we live.

Anyway, the whole thing turned out to be a massive disaster, but not an embarrassment, of course, for such things are not permitted in the lofty ether of educratic circles. FFFF posted about it here, and here.

Recap: the university made a deal with the Elks for land up on Elk Hill and sold a bond to build a bunch of cookie-cutter tract duplexes that were to be sold to professors and administrators, and such like, and subsidized by you and me. The only problem was that an underlying deed restriction required sale to others in the same category, an encumbrance that turned out to be a lot more than a mere nuisance, especially when real estate prices were plummeting all over the place.

The university also had the responsibility to make monthly payments to the Elks for their land, which were to passed on to lucky buyers: a sort of Mello-Roos arrangement, if you will.

The eggheads never made it to Egghead Hill

But nobody was buying. So the university opened up residence to any government workers. Still no sales. Finally they just started renting them out to anybody with a cleaning deposit and first month’s rent. Could it get worse?

Looks like it could. Persistent rumors suggest that CSUF wants out of the University heights disaster altogether by completely removing the deed restriction and just selling them off – individually or as a group – no doubt at fire sale prices. They obviously need the cash.

The losses on the original deal would be quietly swept under the rug – no doubt with diminishing fund balances bailing out the catastrophe.

And what for? According to an acquaintance at Western Law School, CSUF wants to buy their facility for $20,000,000, give or take, and metastasize across State College.

It’s pretty clear to me that the CSUF appetite for real-estate wheeling and dealing is insatiable, even as the CSU system teeters on the financial brink. It’s also clear that nobody is going to be held accountable for the University Heights quagmire. F. “Dick” Jones, the City mastermind, is recalled; his buddy, former City manager Chris is fatly pensioned off; Bill Dickerson, the CSUF architect of the fiasco is retired, too. CSUF President, the dopey Milton Gordon? You guessed it. Gone, as well.

Would it be asking too much for our State Assemblyman Chris Norby to demand an inquiry on what unfolded up on Elk Hill?